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Latest Gear Finds


Fall finally officially became winter (though I swear winter was her 2 months ago), and we had a lot of storms the past few months. A nice break from the year-long drought. We even had snow for the first time in 13 months – and had multiple days of it (even snowed yesterday!). But then there were plenty of gorgeous cold days that called for going walking and hiking. The past 4 or 5 days were cold, cold, cold but oh so pretty.


For the past 3 months I have been aggressively walking daily. My goal is 10,000 steps (that is my minimum!). That leads to shoe wearing-out. My toes had been killing me, which means my Keen Voyageur’s were toast. In my mind I was thinking “This pair went so fast”, thinking I was wearing my newest pair. Then cleaning my closet….I found a BRAND NEW PAIR. Yeesh. I had bought that pair in August, stashed them and forgot about them. No wonder my toes hurt so bad. I was wearing a pair that had 9 months on them!

In the photo, new pair in front, old pair in back. They look similar, right? What you don’t see is the interiors are completely worn out. I average about 6 months in a pair. It isn’t cheap, but I watch prices on Amazon, and buy when I see them under $75. If you have a wider toe spread, but need a normal shoe otherwise, these work well. I find they have no real break in period either – and they have been my choice of shoe for 5+ years now.

Feet felt great. Memory? Stupid as can be. Glad I didn’t go buy another pair!


We had a white Christmas (that like happens how rarely?) and I finally got to wear the Keen Betty boots Kirk bought me like 3 years ago. The new models look a bit different, but same concept. Warm. So warm. Insulated with an insulated foot bed. These work well with snowshoes I might add.


Kirk’s favorite metal water bottles are Kleen Kanteens. After years of use, he wore out….the lids. Not the vessel mind you. Those might have dings and dents, and scratched paint, but those still work great 😉 So he upgraded to Sport Cap 3.0 for them. Love the silicone top, and that they don’t have the annoying lid cover (those things get in the way and eventually break). The water flow is considerably faster as well.


Polar Pure back on the shelves? If you date back in hiking, you will remember this product – I know I do. It is an old school iodine treatment for water. It also reminds me how much the industry has changed in 10+ years – when iodine treatments started disappearing, I went back to filters or other methods like Aquamira (which didn’t leave a taste). I didn’t know the “why” iodine disappeared though (victim of meth labs!). This post from last year explains it pretty well, and how the product came back.

Last but not least:


A new book on thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail: Walking on the Wild Side: Long-Distance Hiking on the Appalachian Trail. What was interesting about this book is that it is not about thru-hiking, it is about the psychology of it. An odd read. Some may enjoy it though!

5 thoughts on “Latest Gear Finds

  1. i am with you whenever it comes to keen footwear. i bought a pair of keen shoes and there wasn’t a break in period. i live in the mountains of south east kentucky and we have our share of rain and mud and usually the mud is very slippery and the keens trot right through the mud without slipping.

  2. Outside of the insulated liner, they are exactly the same as the trail runners for fit and stability. Well, and they bite into the snow – on my feet they don’t slop once on, though the pull on feature might not be everyone’s favorite (versus lacing), but once zipped up stay in place for snowshoeing.

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